Mentor of Mine

This shapes up to be one of those ‘personal’ posts as opposed to ‘business like’. We will see.

I mentioned a mentor in my last post (Je Suis Charlie) that happened to be a Muslim. The post itself made me think of him and others in my life, and just how fortunate I have been to have these people in my life right when I needed them.

Abdullah Bin Adam was not born to the faith,and that was not his given name. In fact, he was born quite some distance from it.

He had started out on the docks and ended up owning a shipyard in the greater Seattle area where he mostly worked on fishing trawlers and some pleasure boats. His yard could handle anything up to 100’ in length, a pretty big deal.

It’s a rough and tumble life on the docks. You have to be as good with your fists as you are with your hands. The primary language is pretty coarse, to say the very least. It is survival of the fittest, and not a particularly good fit for a man of peace.

It turns out that Abdullah may have had a bit too much to drink a time or two, and he lost EVERYTHING. He was given a copy of the Koran shortly after he first sobered up. He read it, asked some questions and made a fundamental change in his life. And I do mean fundamental.

He not only helped me in my journey to put alcohol and drugs behind me, he taught me much about life in general. He still knew the language, and I’ll bet if need be could have whipped his weight in wildcats, but his life focus had changed.

His biggest gift to me was the concept of Inshallah. Rough translation is ‘In Service to God’, but he explained it to me in language I could understand, something like this:

“You do something for somebody, you see. A favor or a good turn or maybe a few bucks in a time of need. But you can’t tell ANYBODY what you have done. God already knows, and you lose all your brownie points if you brag about it”.

So, I guess there really are some business lessons here.

You can ALWAYS help somebody with something. It isn’t really important what the thing may be, what is important is that you give of yourself.
It’s NEVER too late to change. What you were yesterday has very little to do with what you shall be tomorrow if you make the effort to make a change.
It doesn’t matter where you started, it’s where you end up that counts.

I’m just sayin’

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